Photos and Text by Jamii Freston
One of the most exciting parts of Pioneer Days is the Ogden Rodeo at Pioneer Stadium July 19-24. The best cowboys and cowgirls come from around the nation and even the world to compete in different events for a chance to win cash prizes.
This was my first year attending the Ogden Rodeo. I went in with mixed feelings, not sure if I would enjoy it or find in inhumane.
Each night the evening began and ended with 8 seconds. The first event was the bareback bronc riding, with cowboys trying to stay on a bucking horse for 8 seconds. Riders who stayed till the buzzer were scored on how tough the steer was and on their style.
The one team event was steer tying, where two cowboys on horses catch a calf with lassos, one by the neck the other by the leg. They then race to tie up the animal and throw their hands in the air as soon as it’s done.
One of the most skilled events, and easily the most humane, is barrel racing, where cowgirls race full speed around three barrels in a figure 8, then back to the start line. I found it amazing to see how fast and coordinated the cowgirls were with their horses.
The rodeo’s comic relief and the star of this particular show was the rodeo clown, who had a different act every night with a full costume bantering with host and showing his skill trick on a horse.
The final event, bull riding, had cowboys riding on bulls for 8 seconds with the same goal as steer riding: stay on. The bull were intense, bucking back and forth while the cowboys tried to hang on. When they fell off or finished the ride, the rodeo clowns, protected by barrels, provide distraction while the cowboys scramble get out of the bull’s way.
It was more exciting than I expected, and I plan to make it part of my Pioneer Days celebration in the future.